Wondering if it would be a good idea to invest into your very own cleaning company and business? Or perhaps you have already made your mind about doing so, but don’t know how to proceed?
To ease the start of your business journey, we have prepared this quick guide. It consists of a handful steps that, once followed, will set you on the right track to creating a flourishing business.
* This guide to business know-how and advice was produced with helpful tips and advice from the cleaning professionals at FantasticCleaners.com – a company in business since 2009.
1. Choose the Type of Cleaning Business You Want to Start
Are you aware what types of cleaning verticals the niche has to offer? To decide which type of business is right for you, there are several key elements you need to consider before diving into action:
- Personal skills and experience;
- Supply and demand;
- Field of expertise;
- Area coverage;
- Products and equipment;
- Means of transportation.
Once you have evaluated all your opportunities, it’s time to determine your desired target clientele. Here, you have 3 options to choose from:
A) Domestic and/or regular residential property cleaning
This line of work includes regular or one-off visits to your clients’ homes. While some will prefer DIY eco-friendly solutions, most homeowners will require a personalised cleaning checklist to match their individual needs. You should also keep in mind that most people will likely be absent from their homes while the service takes place, either because of work-related reasons or other pressing matters, that are out of you reach.
To be able to handle these jobs appropriately, you will need basic knowledge for the wide range of gear, detergents and experience with cleaning of course. A typical session takes around 2 hours to complete. It would consist of tidying up the following:
- The living room: dusting and polishing all surfaces, wiping furniture, mopping and hoovering floors, emptying bins;
- Your kitchen: sanitising all surfaces and floors, cleaning cooking appliances, changing bin bags;
- All bedrooms: dusting surfaces within reach, polishing mirrors, emptying bins, hoovering or mopping the floor, changing beddings;
- All bathrooms: cleaning shower cabins and/or bathtubs, sanitising all reachable surfaces and toilets, mopping floors, polishing mirrors, emptying bins;
- Hallways and staircases: dusting reachable surfaces, mopping/hoovering floors, wiping skirting boards and banisters.
B) Corporate or commercial cleaning?
There exists a wide variety of commercial property types out there – office buildings, hotels, restaurants, and sports facilities, just to name a few. These premises require much more work than their domestic counterparts, especially when a business is relocating. These bookings do require some elbow grease but you will be better rewarded for your efforts.
Working with or managing a team of cleaners is recommended for those commercial cleaning jobs. Corporate clients usually expect perfect results and for that, you will need to invest in up-to-date tools and cleaning products.
C) Specialised cleaning – choose a narrow vertical.
The third option is one that allows you to focus on a specific cleaning service, i.e. one of the following:
- Carpet & Rug cleaning – the most common techniques are hot water extraction, steam & dry cleaning. Nowadays technicians should be able to clean any carpet on rug onsite. Jobs might include carpeting on stairs, wall to wall or floor to skirting carpeting, carpets that you can easily move and fixed to ground.
- Window cleaning – interior and exterior. Although interior window cleaning is often added as a bonus service to larger bookings, washing windows on the outside is a time consuming and often risky job. Depending on the type of clients you choose – domestic or corporate, you will need different equipment and safety precautions.
- Oven & Stove cleaning – top to bottom and inside out. Bare in mind that current standards include specialised dip-in tanks, handheld steamers and eco-friendly detergents. These services are often booked by restaurants and passionate cooks.
- Upholstery cleaning (sofa, couch, mattress, curtain & more) – the most booked jobs cover curtains, sofas and mattresses, but occasionally there are other more specific types of furnishing and upholstery like custom couches, chairs and even antique wardrobes. Most clients will ask to remove well-sat-in stains, which means experience is absolutely crucial.
- Post-construction cleaning – meant for newly built or renovated properties. This type of service works great for newly bought or sold properties. Both agents and homeowners often need to get a property in shape fast.
- Move out cleaning – a crucial service for both landlords and tenants. Post-tenancy professionals help renters get the security deposit back, because inventory condition is often the turn point at the end of most tenancies.
- Gutter cleaning – keeping water where it should be. This type of service is often combined with repairs and replacements. Suitable for people with background in maintenance and repairs.
- Post water and damp cleanup – highly specialised. Taking care of flood or damp damage requires a lot of know-how and experience with mold. Some types are highly hazardous, while others close to none. To properly remove an infestation will require training and certification.
- Office cleaning – small or corporate. Many business owners have no procedure nor contractor to maintain and clean their office spaces. It’s a great niche for people looking for a less complicated cleaning vertical. While there are some clever ideas for office cleaning gamification, professional results require in-depth know how and gear.
The list goes on. These are just a few of the tight verticals one could specialise as a truly professional cleaner.
To aim at a particular cleaning service has both its advantages and disadvantages. For example, since you focus on just one type of cleaning, you miss out on other potential jobs that include general domestic or commercial cleaning. Another downside is that you will need to keep your equipment up to date if you want to answer the needs of more demanding customers.
On a more positive note, you will complete a bigger volume of jobs a lot faster than usual and will maintain a higher service quality all the way through.
D) Start your business by buying a cleaning franchise
Already established cleaning companies can offer you to become a part of their business via franchising. Contracting such brands will ensure you a steady flow of clients from day one. Usually companies offering franchisee opportunities have already built a considerable base of clientele, not to mention brand awareness, marketing coverage and technology for you to benefit from.
Once you made a firm decision on the type services you want to provide, the franchisor will initiate an extensive training program which will help understand their standards, products, tools and equipment used. Once you’ve completed the introduction, you’ll be ready to start working right away.
Glen Cowell, consultant at JoinFantastic.com (franchise opportunities in London), says: “Joining an existing and successful franchise company can help you acquire in-depth experience faster and thus give you the opportunity to grow your business to a point where you will manage multiple teams of technicians, and even further expand your business coverage.”
2. Analyse the Market and Niche for Cleaning Services
Another important step you need to take before getting your company out there on the market is to carry out a proper, in-depth business research. Below are a few key points to get you started.
Carry out competitive analysis
- What types of services do competitors offer?
- How and how much do they price their services?
- What’s their area coverage?
- How are they selling their services?
- What are their unique selling points and special deals?
Choose your target clients
- What do clients need?
- What are their expectations?
- What are your competitors missing?
- What are they pleased or displeased with in relation to the cleaning companies they currently use or have used before?
Ensure that you deliver a quality service
- Investigate the current cleaning trends and think of ways to incorporate them.
- Have a look at the latest tools, products, and equipment.
- See if you can implement any innovations to make your name stand out.
3. Organise your Funding and Spend the Budget Wisely
If you wish to kick-start a successful cleaning business, you need to make the most out of your starting budget, especially if you’re using an sme loan. This means you have to always make the right business decisions at the right time. Here are some of the things that you absolutely need to spend your capital on if you want to quickly get your investment back.
Obtain a suitable means of transportation
If the car you already own has more than enough room to store your cleaning equipment and detergents, feel free to skip this step. If the vehicle is not suitable for the job or you don’t own one at all, your current budget will help you determine if you can afford to buy new or if you will need to search for a car on the used market. You can also consider using public transportation, as long as you are not using a professional carpet cleaning machine or other heavy equipment.
Determine what tools and equipment you need
This, of course, depends on the type of service that you want to provide. For instance, services like carpet cleaning and gutter cleaning will require you to invest in professional-grade (and often expensive because of that) equipment. On the other hand, services like regular domestic cleaning will require more than basic necessities, such as cloths, hand-held vacuum cleaners, or the variety of over-the-counter detergents.
Get a separate phone for business-related matters
Using a single phone for both personal and business communication might seem like the better option at first, but giving your personal phone number to clients and business partners will quickly set your phone on fire with a mixture of family- and business-related correspondence. Avoid all this hassle by buying a separate phone or a model that supports two or more SIMs.
4. Come Up with a Winning Marketing Strategy
Think of ways to efficiently promote your services without spending a fortune in the process. Since this is not a task that can be done overnight, you will need to develop your marketing strategy months in advance to ensure that you will start off your business on the right footing. Here are a few ways to achieve great results on a budget using the power of the Internet.
Make the most of social media for business
Promoting your brand via social media is every bit as engaging as it sounds. This method is also pretty affordable since all you have to do is create an account in any of the big social outlets, such as Facebook and Twitter. The more social platforms you decide to cover, the higher the chances are that your products and services will reach your targeted group of customers.
Run your very own business website
Host your website on a reliable platform, populate it with user-friendly features (always online chat, booking forms, etc.), and you have yourself a powerful ally that will help people find your services with a quick search engine query. A competently done website will make your brand stand out and feel more credible to potential customers. Finally, a website is a great way to interact with your customers and answer all the questions they may have about your products. For best results you should definitely look into these 20 tools to help your workflow.
Set up a blog (and update it frequently)
A business blog is essentially a toned-down version of a dedicated brand website. However, its main purpose remains the same – to connect you with your target audience and present your products or services in the most attractive manner possible. Your readers also have the option to advertise your brand further by sharing your blog posts on other social media platforms.
Join organisations that are related to your niche
Partnering with organisations means meeting stringent work requirements and paying periodic fees. However, at the end, you will receive an electronic seal of approval which you can then place on your website to reassure your clientele that all your work is accredited by a leading organisation in the field. You name will also be brought up more in the respective service circles.
Set aside some time for charity work
If you can spare some of your budget on doing volunteer work, it’s a good idea to participate in charity events. People are attracted to companies that give away money to charity, since this shows them that you are in this business not just for the big bucks, but for the people as well.
Conclusion and takeaways:
To start a cleaning business from scratch can be pleasant yet extremely difficult. Make sure to carefully evaluate both your resources and opportunities. If you’re not absolutely confident with your choice, explore and consider other prospective business ideas. Many have tried starting a cleaning company only to find out it wasn’t really the cup of tea they initially expected.